Queen’s Awards to Enterprise 2013 winners announced

Suppliers to the pharmaceutical sector are recognised for International Trade and Innovation

The Queen’s Awards to Enterprise 2013 rewarded 152 business winners, of which 116 were recognised for International Trade, 27 for Innovation, and 9 for Sustainable Development.

Two suppliers to the pharmaceutical industry won Queen’s Awards for International Trade.

First-time winner, Mettler-Toledo Safeline X-ray, designs, manufactures and sells X-ray systems to the food and pharmaceutical industries. Formed in 2000, the company’s export sales have grown by 266% over the last 6 years and it now claims a 30% market share, regularly exporting more than 90% of its sales. New distributors have been appointed in Egypt, Romania and South Africa over the last 3 years. The company has also acquired complimentary businesses to expand its market share in X-ray machines, as well as undertaking widespread use of web-based technology to support its brand.

Proto Labs was honoured for the second time in this category. The company provides rapid injection moulding and rapid CNC machining of functional prototypes. Overseas sales have increased by 243% over the last 3 years.

The company’s business is based on being able to produce a functional injection-moulded or machined component from a client’s 3D CAD model within days. It has targeted European markets, opening an office in Germany to support German, Austrian and Swiss clients, followed by offices in France (2009) and Italy (2012). The company’s main export markets are Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands.

Our investment strategy has over the years resulted in substantial growth both in terms of earnings and market share

Proto Labs’ Managing Director John Tumelty said: ‘Our investment strategy has over the years resulted in substantial growth both in terms of earnings and market share in a very competitive market. In fact, it’s precisely because of this investment that our services are in such demand by designers and engineers across Europe who value highly, innovative processes that reduce product development times and costs without compromising on quality.’

Innovation Award winners operating in the pharmaceutical/life sciences sector include NanoSight and PrisymID.

Following its 2012 Queen’s Award for International Trade, NanoSight took an Innovation Award this year for equipment that measures the properties of nanoparticles, which have dimensions less than one millionth of a metre.

The company’s nanoparticle characterisation technology incorporates patented techniques involving laser beams and measures size, size distribution and concentration of groups of nanoparticles, in real time. It also measures optical and electrical properties. The instruments provide unprecedented capability for discriminating between particle types in complex mixtures. Thus, not only are they are facilitating advances in manufacturing processes, but their availability is also crucial to areas of medical and pharmaceutical research.

Since 2005 NanoSight has grown sales by more than 60% annually, year-on-year, and now employs 47 people worldwide. The firm sells its products all over the world, with around 90% of its sales outside the UK. The most significant growth for the company has been in pharmaceuticals and life sciences. More than 600 NanoSight instruments are in use worldwide.

‘Winning this award is further recognition of our Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) technique as an outstanding technology to meet the needs of the burgeoning nanomaterials sector,’ said NanoSight’s founder Dr Bob Carr. ‘It is reward to our team in Salisbury, which continues to innovate both hardware and software improvements to meet the challenging demands of our users.’

Winning this award is further recognition of our Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) technique as an outstanding technology

The company anticipates sustained growth in the coming years. Its NTA technology has become increasingly important in the characterisation of nanomaterials. With discussions continuing about a definition for nanomaterials in both Europe and the US, it appears that many companies will be required to measure the number and size of the nanoscale particles in their products.

Underscoring the importance of these activities, NanoSight’s CEO, Jeremy Warren, added: ‘With NTA's ability to handle this challenge measuring particles in the 10nm to 1000nm range, NanoSight's future growth prospects are very positive.’

PrisymID has developed a web-based labelling system for medical applications. The system incorporates purpose-built software with security features, which links to customers’ manufacturing facilities ensuring that printed information (labels and supporting documents) is accurate and secure.

One feature is a check that printing devices to be utilised have been validated. The innovation has resulted in consistent branding, increased efficiency and robust compliance with regulations. Reduced costs associated with labelling errors have led to significant savings.

Mick Daw, CEO of PrisymID, said: ‘We are thrilled to accept this award and to be recognised for the innovation that our team has delivered through hard work, commitment and a belief that we could become a leader in our market. We have excelled over the last few years and have successfully managed the transition from start-up to mature organisation.’

Companies